As most Christians are aware, many versions of the Bible exist today. But most intriguing are the biblical books (known as canon), not placed in our modern-day Bible. I asked myself “why,” and what was the purpose of eliminating them. These gospels were a collection of about 50 ancient texts written from the 2nd to the 4th century AD. The Jews and the Christians already knew these so-called lost books and enjoyed their stories in ancient days. Still, they are held back from today’s public eye.
After some investigation, I discovered several reasons for their abolishment from the Bible:
- The books are claimed not to be the Word of God
- They contained nonbiblical concepts or serious historical inaccuracies
- Jewish Prophets nor the Christian Apostles did not write them
Despite their removal, there is a rise in Christians that prefers the extra books, known as the Apocrypha or Apocryphal Books, to be included in our current Bible. In this four-part series, we will examine five of the disregarded books.
The Gospel of Thomas
Composed between 60-140 AD and discovered in 1945, this book is the sayings of Jesus, as documented by Didymos Judas Thomas, known as Thomas the Apostle. It includes Jesus’ parables and short dialogues.
To refresh your memory, Thomas demanded to see the nail marks put in Jesus’ hand and side at the crucifixion before he would believe He was the Son of God. When he witnessed His resurrection, Thomas said, “My Lord and my God! (John 20:28). Thomas was also one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared on the shore of Galilee.
This book has so many secret sayings that it is impossible to share them all in this blog. But allow me to reveal a few of the interpretations as translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer:
Jesus said, “Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human.”
Jesus said, “I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes.”
Jesus said to them, “If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits.
When you go into any region and walk about in the countryside, when people take you in, eat what they serve you and heal the sick among them.
After all, what goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it’s what comes out of your mouth that will defile you.”
His disciples said to him, “When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?” He said to them, “What you are looking forward to has come, but you don’t know it.”
In summation of the Gospel of Thomas, it appears to trash the church and invalidates all things man considers to be true. It was disregarded in the Bible because scholars deemed it to be Gnostic text. Gnosticism was a religious movement that began before Christ’s time and extended into the first few centuries of the Christian era. They considered Christ to be an illusion and evil. This movement is similar in some ways to the beliefs of today’s New Age movement.
The early church never considered the Gospel of Thomas to be Scriptures because Jesus’s character looked too strange and too unfamiliar to Christians. The book is more a description of the different religious movements competing after Jesus left the earth. Sure sounds like a noble reason not to include it in our Bible!
Please join us again next week as review the second of five disregarded books of the Bible!
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